Former Central Bank of Liberia Officials Plead Not Guilty to New Indictment

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Dr. Milton A. Weeks, former Executive Governor along with Kollie Tamba, David Farhai and Elsie Dossen Badio pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges when the Indictment was read to them on Wednesday, June 24, in open court.

Monrovia – Four former indicted officials of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) have pleaded not guilty to criminal charges levelled against them by the State.

Dr. Milton A. Weeks, former Executive Governor along with Kollie Tamba, David Farhai and Elsie Dossen Badio pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges when the Indictment was read to them on Wednesday, June 24, in open court.

The defendants not guilty plea means that they have joined issue with the State, which means state prosecutors now have to adduce evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the four defendants committed Economic Sabotage, Criminal Conspiracy, and Criminal Facilitation, among others.

However, prior to the four defendants not guilty plea, the State had dropped charges against three other defendants associated with the alleged crimes at the CBL.

The three persons are Richard H. Walker, former Director for Banking, Joseph Dennis, former Director for Internal Audit and Dorbor M. Hagba, former Director of Finance.

Prosecution said the decision to drop charges against the three defendants is in line with Chapter 18, Sub Section 18.1 of the Criminal Procedure Law.

Meanwhile, following the four other defendants not guilty plea, State lawyers requested Criminal Court C to order the jury management to arraign qualify jurors to make determination into the facts of the case.

In response to the State’s submission, the defendants waived their rights to jury trial and requested a bench trial. This means, the judge of the court will serve as both judge and jury during the trial.

“At this stage, counsels of records for co-defendants David Farhai, Kollie Tamba and Elsie Dossen Badio, most respectfully inform this Honorable Court that the said named defendants waived jury trial and will therefore yield to a bench trial by this Honorable Court,” lawyers for the defendants pleaded.

In his ruling, Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay denied the State application for jury trial and granted the defendants’ bench trial.

“In this jurisdiction, a trial by jury is a matter of Constitutional and Statutory rights of the defendants. The defendants through their counsels having waived such trial, this court have no choice but to grant same,” Judge Gbeisay said.

“In view of the above facts and circumstances, the request of the prosecution is hereby ordered set aside and the response thereto which the defendants are opting for, bench trial is hereby granted.”

At the same time, state lawyers have also requested the court for a separate trial for defendant Melissa A. Emeh, who was charged along with the four defendants.

They argued that since the indictment was drawn against defendant Emeh, she is yet to be brought under the court’s jurisdiction because she is out of the country.

“That given the fact and as per the constitutional right given to the defendants for speedy trial, prosecution request that a separate trial be granted in favor of the co-defendants (Weeks, Badio, Tamba and Farhai) with exception of co-defendant Melissa A. Emeh who is out of the bailiwick of Liberia,” Prosecution added.

The four defendants interposed no objection to the prosecution’s request for their separate trial, paving way for Judge Gbeisay to grant a separate trial for defendant Emeh.

Judge Gbeisay has assigned the hearing of the trial for Monday, June 29 at 9 AM.

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